PowerTrainTM CMI Frequently Asked
The questions on this page are grouped into 2 sections:
about the product for people evaluating a CBT system.
Tricks, and Troubleshooting for users.
Questions about the product for people evaluating
a CBT system:
What is PowerTrain? What
does it do?
PowerTrain allows you to create a CBT course without writing any code. There is a
tutorial provided with the evaluation program that you can download from our web site.
This will help you understand some of the basics of PowerTrain.
PowerTrain uses the philosophy of objective based training. There are course objectives
like chapters in a book. For each objective there are 1 or more "pages" of
review (training) material. A page can be a PowerPoint slide, word document, avi video, or
even an external program launched from PowerTrain. For the same objective there are also 1
or more questions. The objective is used to tie the review material to the appropriate
When a student is viewing the review material, PowerTrain will show all review pages
for an objective, then it can ask 1 or more review questions for that objective. If the
student answers correctly it moves on to the next objective.
A student may also take an exam in PowerTrain. This will typically contain more
questions than asked during the review. Exams are usually graded and may determine a
There are many options that may be used when creating courses. You may control the
total number of questions asked for the entire exam, a minimum number of questions for any
objective during exams, number of questions for an objective during review, etc. In
addition, there are options for mandatory questions, randomness, and more.
PowerTrain is used by both the course developer to create the course, and by the end
user (student) to use the course. All course materials are stored in a database. There is
a course export / import function in PowerTrain if you need to deliver your courses to
individuals outside your network.
Can I use PowerTrain on the WEB ?
PowerTrain is a traditional client server application, it is not an Internet product by
itself. Some users have successfully deployed PowerTrain for use by an Internet browser
(i.e. Internet Explorer) using Citrix and Microsoft Terminal Server.
What database system do I need?
PowerTrain has the ability to support many database types. We recommend one of the
major database vendors such as Sybase, MS SQL Server, etc. (We are not a database vendor
but we would be happy to assist you in choosing one.) If you are intending to use the
product as a single user (1 concurrent user) system, we recommend that you continue to use
the supplied Sybase SQL Anywhere DB.
How is PowerTrain
licensed? What will it cost?
PowerTrain licensing is priced according to usage. There are 3 independent use charges
that are summed together to create the total price. Named users are the number of students
that will be tracked in the database. Concurrent users are the number that may use the
product simultaneously. The first concurrent user is free. License fees apply only to the
additional concurrent users (greater than 1.) Developers are the number of users that may
be designated as a course developer. Named users cost from $1.00 to $5.00 each depending
on the number purchased. Developers and additional concurrent users both cost from $300.00
to $500.00 each depending on the number purchased.
Examples of possible configurations are shown below. More information on our pricing
structure may be found on the price list page of
our web site.
|A small business with less than 50 employees (students) and a low turnover rate for new
students may wish to purchase only 1 developer, 1 concurrent user (free), and 200 named
|A larger business with more than 1000 employees (or students) and a higher turnover rate
for new students may wish to purchase 5 to 15 developers, 10 to 50 concurrent users, and
2000 to 10,000 named users.|
the difference between the evaluation version and the real version?
There are no differences in the functionality. They are the same product. The
evaluation version comes with a license for a limited number of users and an expiration
date. The product displays the license information at startup and in the title bar of the
window so you can tell if the product is licensed to your company, or is a Non-Licensed
What kind of security does
PowerTrain supports flexible security for both the database and functionality within
PowerTrain CMI contains database and application login options to allow flexibility in
supporting a secure system. The database connection may be hidden using an encrypted
dedicated account, or it may prompt for the database username and password. The
application login may be hidden using the database username or network username, or it may
prompt for a username and password stored in PowerTrain.
Once logged into the application, access to PowerTrain CMI application functions may be
granted to users or user groups on an individual function level. Multiple functions may be
grouped into "access groups" which may then be assigned to individual users user
groups (or both). Courses may also be assigned to user groups or individual users. A site
administrator may create as many user groups and access groups as needed.
Where are test results stored?
All test results are stored in a database. Test results contain the student
identification, date, course, score, and more. Plus it also stores all questions asked,
all answers presented and the answer selected by the student.
Since all results are stored in a database, the data is easily available for retrieval
using either reports built in to the application, or you can create your own with other
standard reporting tools.
The built in missed question frequency report uses this data to help the instructor
analyze and improve the courseware.
PowerTrain track qualification and expiration dates for students?
PowerTrain is not a qualifications tracking application. The course exam and review
results may be used as input into your current qualifications tracking system. We have
created interfaces for other customers that allow PowerTrain course exam and review
results (for customer selected courses) to be seamlessly integrated to their existing
qualifications tracking system.
Hints, Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting for users
How do I get started?
The tutorial supplied with the evaluation program is the best way to get started. We
can also arrange for on site training if required.
The one page solution to this question is as follows:
Start by creating an entire course outside of PowerTrain. This course should contain
"objectives" or chapters. Within each objective (or chapter) create multiple
choice questions including all answers to be presented for each question.(Correct and
incorrect.) Also within each objective, create some review material, such as MS Powerpoint
slides, that will teach the student the material for the objective. This review material
should cover the questions that you will ask for this objective. Once you have completed
this, you may go into PowerTrain and create the course. In the course maintenance section
of PowerTrain, insert all of your objectives. Then select each objective and insert your
questions for the objective, and answers for the question. Do this for each objective.
Next you will need to use the objective maintenance section to create objects and object
lists for each page of review material. When all objects and object lists have been
created, go back to the course in the course maintenance section. Select the first
objective and go to the review material for that objective. Insert the appropriate number
of review pages for the objective, and using the dropdown, select the correct object list
to correspond to the review page.
Now that you have created the course, you should validate it, and run through the
course and make sure everything is entered properly. First validate the course. The
validation function is available on the toolbar in the course maintenance window. When the
course successfully validates it will prompt for you to demo the exam. Make sure all of
your questions are entered correctly. Next you may run a demo review from the course
maintenance window. Make sure that the review looks like you want it to.
The last step is to make the course available for your users. (See below.)
How do I make my
new course available for all users?
Now that you have created and validated the course, you will need to approve it for
production, make it a production version, then set the current production version. These 3
steps are all simple functions that can usually be completed in a combined time of under 5
minutes. The last step is to assign the course to users.
The approval is performed by checking the checkbox in the course maintenance window.
This must be performed by someone assigned as a course approver. (Course approvers are
selected from the list of course developers for that course.) There are toolbar buttons in
the course maintenance window for course approvers and course developers. (The site
administrator controls a site option to determine if you may assign yourself as a course
Next make the course a production version. This is performed using a button on the
toolbar in the course maintenance window.
Next exit course maintenance to the main course selection window, select the course,
and use the toolbar button to set the current version for the course. This function sets
which version (of possible multiple production versions) will be available for students to
The last step is to assign the course to users. This may be done by individual users,
user groups, or a combination of both. There is a built in user group named the world.
Assigning the course to the world will make it available for use by all students. From the
main course selection window, select the course, then press the toolbar button for Course
Users / Groups. Assign the groups by dragging from the left and dropping on the right.
There is a "users" button on this window to assign individual users just like
assigning groups as shown above.
My MS Word
document doesn't look right in my review page.
In the MS word document, create a frame the size of the entire page to hold the
contents of the page. The frame will keep the text from being distorted by telling the
operating system the display size of the page.
How can I view JPG files?
There are 2 ways this can be done. The easiest way is to embed the jpg file into
another document such as a powerpoint slide or word document, then use that document for
the object in PowerTrain.
JPG files can be put directly into an object list as a program type object. In object
maintenance, select the object list tab. Press the Insert button, then the Insert File
button. Select the JPG file. Click in the type column, select Program. Fill in the List
Name and save. This object list may then be used on a review or question page. The JPG
will then be opened with what ever your system normally uses if you were to double click
on the file. (Usually this is internet explorer. See the next 2 questions for more
How do I
make PowerTrain use a 3rd party CBT that I purchased?
This is just like the example showing a JPG file. Create a new object list and select
the executable file. See the questions immediately above and below this one for more
How do I make PowerTrain
play my entire slide show?
First you must create a
Microsoft PowerPoint slide show containing the material you want to present.
You may wish to copy this slide show to a shared network drive if it will be
used by more than users on just your computer.
Next the Microsoft PowerPoint
Viewer must be installed on your computer. To get the viewer, go to the
Microsoft.com web site, enter “power point viewer” in the search text and
press go. Download the viewer for your version of Microsoft Office and
The Microsoft PowerPoint
viewer for Office 2003 is typically installed to the folder: “C:\Program
Files\Microsoft Office\PowerPoint Viewer”. You may wish to create a folder on
a shared network drive to contain the viewer. Copy the contents of the folder
to your shared drive location. (For older versions of
PowerTrain, you will need to use a path name that is 50 characters or
less. For example create a folder named C:\PPTVIEW.)
Next create an environment
variable in PowerTrain to point to the viewer.
This will make it easier to use when creating multiple object lists that use
the viewer. From the PowerTrain main window, open
the Object Maintenance window. Click on the Environments tab. Press the Insert
button. Type in the name of the new environment variable.
For example enter “PPTVIEWER”. Press the Save button. Select the line with the
PPTVIEWER entry and press the Edit button. This will open the Custom
Environment Settings window. Press the Insert button. Enter the full path name
of the viewer. For example, enter: “C:\PPTVIEW\PPTVIEW.EXE”. Press the Save
button. Press the Close button.
If you copied the slide show
to a network drive, you may also want to create an environment variable to
point to the shared network drive where the presentation was copied. The
environment variable may point to the full path folder, or only a partial
path. For example, if you have a shared location S:\PowerTrain and 2 sub
folders S:\PowerTrain\Department1 and S:\PowerTrain\Department2 you may want
the environment variable to point to S:\PowerTrain. For example create an
environment variable named PTFILES and the setting for this variable is S:\PowerTrain\.
Now go to the Object Lists
tab. Press the Insert button. In the List Name text box, enter in a short name
to identify the object list. The name may be no more than 20 characters. Press
the Insert File… button. You may browse to the actual file, or just choose any
file. (You will be changing the text after it is inserted.) Now we will change
the text in the Filename/Command text area. For this example we will assume
that the PowerPoint slide show is in S:\PowerTrain\Department2\MySlideShow,ppt.
We will also assume that an environment variable named PTFILES was created as
shown above. Delete the text thsat was inserted in
the Filename/Command text area and replace with:
(When using an environment variable it is preceeded
by an asterisk and followed by a colon.) Now click in the Type area and select
PROGRAM from the dropdown list. Press the Save button.
This object list is now ready
for use in any PowerTrain Course.
For a quick reminder on using
in a course:
|Create the course.|
|Select the course and go to
Course Maintenance. Enter the main course data.|
|Go to Objectives. Insert
|Select an Objective and go
to Review Material.|
|Insert a review material
page. Select the Object list from the dropdown in the inserted review page.|
When creating an object list that launches a slide show or other program, you
may also want to insert in the same object list an object (like a single
slide) that instructs the user to click the next button after reviewing the
material. This slide should be a traditional PowerTrain
object stored in the PowerTrain database. See the
tutorial for more information on creating objects. If this object uses generic
text, it may be used for many courses. A few suggested phrases are:
After reviewing the material, Press the Next button to start the review
question(s) for this objective.
After reviewing the material, Press the Next button to go to the next
After reviewing the material, Press the Next button to receive credit for this
After reviewing the material,
Press the Next button to complete this course.
After reviewing the material,
Press the Next button to start the exam for this course.